The Department of Homeland Security has taken its first step in renewing the STEM Extension since the Washington Alliance decision that sent shockwaves through the hearts of tech companies and foreign students in early August. On October 2, 2015, DHS submitted its rule proposal, Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Expanding Cap-Gap Relief for All F-1 Students With Pending H-1B Petitions, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The OIRA reviews draft proposed and final regulations submitted by Executive Agencies to ensure agency compliance with Executive Order 12866 and the Administrative Procedures Act.
The “rulemaking” process begins when an agency decides that a regulatory action is necessary or appropriate. First it develops and typically publishes a proposed rule in the Federal Register, soliciting comments from the public on the regulatory proposal. After the agency considers this public feedback and makes changes where appropriate, it then publishes a final rule in the Federal Register with a specific date upon which the rule becomes effective and enforceable. In issuing a final rule, the agency must describe and respond to the public comments it received. The period for OIRA review is limited by Executive Order 12866 to 90 days; however, the timeline for each stage of the process is not fixed. Each step is outlined in The Reg Map, which provides a detailed account of the informal rulemaking process.
Exciting news for all who are dependent upon employment-based immigration options to attract high-skilled workers. We will keep a sharp eye on this proposed rule. Finally, a step in the right direction.